All The Stars In The Sky
On a sunny day, nestled in the heart of Waipuna Hospice sits Baden Jury, a patient of ours who at the time of this interview was staying in our Inpatient Unit for respite care.
35 years ago, Baden was first diagnosed with cancer and given months to live. But, with a stubborn streak he credits to his Irish Grandmother, he looked at his doctor and said (in not quite as polite terms) that he wasn’t going anywhere. With a 5-10% chance of survival, Baden underwent surgery, and 35 years later, is still here. However, while his cancer went into remission, it wasn’t smooth sailing for Baden as he battled serious heart and lung problems. Problems that are escalating as time goes on.
Baden reached out to us and said he would like to express his gratitude, as he couldn’t believe how well looked after he had been. We sat down with him to hear more about his story and get to know the man behind the 35-year battle of life and death.
“You know, when you stay at a hotel they rate it out of five stars,” began Baden with a lump in his throat. “Well, for Waipuna Hospice, you would have to take all the stars out of the sky to give them an accurate rating, and it still wouldn’t be enough – there just aren’t enough stars in the sky to describe how amazing their care has been.”
After taking a moment to regain his composure, Baden went on to tell us all about his stay in our Inpatient Unit, and the “wonderful” staff that took care of him.
“Everybody here is just so amazing. From my point of view, when you come to Waipuna Hospice, you know you’re going to get treated well because their care is just incredible – I couldn’t fault it. Given it’s a charity, the quality of everything, even the people, is amazing. It’s not a back corner charity, it’s professional in every way.”
Baden has been struggling with his health since he was first diagnosed with cancer 35 years ago. Then, his heart and lungs started causing problems, with multiple hospital visits, heart attacks, pancreatitis, and more. Baden joked that as one problem slowed down, the others escalated.
Baden has been a patient of ours for a few months now and gets weekly visits from our team, both from a medical point of view and with our Counsellors and Spiritual Care Coordinator. But Baden knows his time is coming, and after 35 years, credits his survival to his body.
“While we all know that we’re born to die, I now know my time has come. I’m not so sure I’m even fighting anymore, it’s just that my body’s not prepared to give up. By now, I think it’s muscle memory. I guess you can thank the Irish in me for that. But, when the time comes, I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place to pass.”
“This place is full of love and helpfulness. Everybody goes out of their way to help you, and no one ever makes you feel like you’re too much trouble. My stay in your Inpatient Unit has just been wonderful. Everybody seems to love what they’re doing. They’re here because they want to be and they’re here because they love it. Everybody just pumps so much love and healing into you that you just can’t ignore it.”
Although Baden understands his life is coming to an end, he still finds space in his life for humour.
“I have just spent a week in your Inpatient Unit, and I have joked with the nurses that it will either be my partner Lyn picking me up or the hearse, but I think Lyn will win this time.”
Well, Lyn arrived a day later, and Baden has been at home since, receiving the same quality care he got in our Inpatient Unit, but from the comfort of his own home.